Freshmen Become Orthopedic Surgeons for a Day

Freshmen Become Orthopedic Surgeons for a Day photo
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Rye Neck High School freshmen – who had been studying the musculoskeletal system in their biology classes – welcomed orthopedic surgeon Dr. Nicholas DeBellis as a special guest at their school on Jan. 3. 

During his visit, Dr. DeBellis discussed his experiences and shared insight into the steps leading to a health or medical career, and provided the students with hands-on training on the basic duties of an orthopedist. In addition, he provided an outline of what part of the body orthopedic surgeons treat and the different types of operations they perform. He also taught the students how to properly name and diagnose a fracture from an X-ray. 

“Our students enjoyed a day with no shortage of shock value,” said science teacher Matt DeBellis, who organized his brother’s visit. “Many students were surprised by the bluntness and simplicity of modern operations in orthopedics.” 

Following Dr. DeBellis’ presentation, the students collaborated in groups at different stations around the room to study 10 real-life case scenarios. The stations were equipped with X-ray photographs from multiple angles, a hyper-realistic plaster model bone with the same fracture and a lifesize clear plastic bone with the appropriate metal plates, screws and rods fixed to the bone that would be used to correct the fracture for each case study. 

“Our students were challenged to diagnose the patient’s bone break by naming the fracture by location, name of bone, fracture pattern and degree of displacement using all of the available case information,” DeBellis said. “A few classes were able to learn how to properly make plaster wrist splints on their peers.” 

The experience allowed students to make a connection between the content they’re learning and the potential careers they could pursue.